I’m thankful I’ve seen many sights in my 20 years of life that have made me stop in my tracks, look around, catch my breath and thank God for His creation: Half Dome at Yosemite National Park, the Redwoods in northern California, a lightning storm in the Appalachians in Tennessee, the swamps of south Louisiana, a blossoming rainforest on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, the Mosel River valley in Germany. But out of all of these, and after much consideration, I think I’ve laid eyes on my favorite stretch of land on God’s green earth so far.
According to the brochure I picked up at the visitors’ desk, 300 million years ago a gargantuan river dumped dirt and sediment into its delta, which was located where the Cliffs of Moher stand today. After generations of erosion from the Atlantic waves and winds pummeling the coast, God blessed us with the sight that stands 700 feet above the water today.
The pictures don’t do it justice; they never do. It was beautifully terrifying. I could hear the aggressive crashing thunder of the waves, even three football fields above. Birds dived headfirst off the edge to their roosts carved in the rocks below. Hurricane-level gusts of winds whipped from all sides, an omen to the brave ones who wanted to climb the protective stone wall along the edge. Many signs warned visitors of the cliffs’ dangers, a monument stood remembering the souls who gazed a little too closely, and telephone numbers of counselors were posted prominently.
We hiked and hiked and hiked, and every new angle gave me a new appreciation for the coastal cliffs. I snapped pictures, hoping they would help explain to my friends and family back home what I had seen. Louisiana doesn’t have a defined coastline; our marshes slowly turn from freshwater to brackish water to saltwater. The beaches in nearby Alabama and Florida are fun and sandy, but are at sea-level. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the Cliffs of Moher, though. It’s like God took a huge saw, and ruggedly cut the stone that is the ground of western Ireland. I don’t understand how some people can look at the beauty lay before us, and not believe in a higher power. Are we that discouraged to think sights like these “just happen”? I understand the Cliffs of Moher literally took millions of years of erosion to come into being, but isn’t that actually God’s craftsman hand at work? While gazing at this spectacle, I took a timeout from my worries, my thoughts, my insecurities, and I praised God for His creation. I thanked Him for our beautiful and temporary home, planet Earth, and I thanked Him for the unimaginable eternal home, the Kingdom of Heaven. I thanked Him for taking His time to make me as well, for at that moment, I felt so small, so awestruck, so insignificant, yet I know He still thought me up, has a plan for me, and loves me.
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
He gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all deeps,
Fire and hail, snow and mist,
Stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills,
Fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
Creeping things and flying birds!